NOAA budget would boost satellite funding but cut some key areas



The White House's proposed fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), announced on 13 February, looks favorable at first glance. The administration's request calls for $5.1 billion, an increase of $153 million (3.1%) above the FY 2012 estimated budget. However, the increase for NOAA satellites is $163 million, which means that other areas within the agency would be slated for decreased funding, including programs within the National Ocean Service (NOS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Weather Service (NWS), and some NOAA education programs. The proposed overall budget for the agency “reflects the overarching importance of weather satellites to public safety, to national security, and to the economy,” NOAA director Jane Lubchenco said at a 16 February briefing, noting that difficult choices were made regarding the budget. “Due to significant resources required for our weather satellites and the economic conditions in the country, other parts of our budget have been reduced, in some cases quite significantly,” she said. She added that the imperative to fund both the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and geostationary satellites in FY 2013 “imposes serious constraints on the rest of NOAA's budget.”